First Looks: Nokia N73 3G Smartphone

(N)othing Charms Like the N73

(N)othing Charms Like the N73

Welcome to the era where mobile phones are becoming more of a necessity than a luxury item. As consumers continue to find themselves with the need to stay contactable and connected to information, mobile phone companies are pushing out newer technologies to meet increasing demands being put on these highly portable communication devices. From high-speed data transmission technologies, Push E-mail function to the latest HSDPA wireless technology, the sole aim is to keep the momentum going and the dollars flowing.

Increasingly, digital imaging has become a key consideration for consumers hunting for new handsets. With cameraphones packing 3.2-megapixel sensors starting to trickle into mainstream channel in numbers, the term "cameraphone" has finally taken on a realistic sense. Yet, it wasn't so long ago when it was still a dream to own a cameraphone that actually has credible imaging capability to capture precious moments that are print worthy. The latest model to reach us is the Nokia N73, but is it capable of winning over your heart as much as the Sony Ericsson K800i?

To The Nth Power

Optics is important for any imaging product and it's safe to say that the N73 has had this covered by having Carl Zeiss lens for its optics. First introduced in the Nokia N90, Carl Zeiss optics promises good photos, which would only pair up well with the 3.2-megapixel sensor in the N73. Although the N90 has since been replaced by the newer N93, the lighter and more compact N73 is a different proposition altogether, but one that also promises high-quality photos and videos.

Unlike the N90 and N93, the N73 has none of the twisting and turning; it's just a simple bar type phone with a big LCD screen. If anything, the N73 is a smartphone first and cameraphone second – though you're free to rearrange the order as you see fit. As glorious as the screen is, the size meant there was only going to be enough room for a small keypad. As such, keen buyers are advised to first test the keypad in messaging for usability.

Other than this slight ergonomic drawback, the N73 delights by having a front mounted camera for video calls along with a hot-swappable miniSD slot for addition storage capacity and of course, a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash.

Almost the perfect handset

Granted the N93 is the flagship model of Nokia's premium N-series, it didn't come as a surprise to find the N73 lacking Wi-Fi connectivity. Nevertheless, the handset has all other options such as 3G, Bluetooth and infrared. A pleasant surprise was the improved interface speed over the older Series 60 Nokia smartphones.

Quickoffice and PDF reader continue to be standard in the software bundle of the N73. There's also antivirus software from F-secure that users may install for added protection against viruses. Considering the large LCD screen, we are happy to report that the N73 is a handset designed for the road, lasting three full days on a single charge.
The onboard 3.2-megapixel camera offers image quality that is above what most current cameraphones can provide. Stills were sharp with acceptable noise level. However, color was a bit off with the sensor revealing its metering weakness by overexposing outdoor shots one too many times.

Final Thoughts

With its top of the line Carl Zeiss lens, fast OS and a host of connectivity options, the manageable Nokia N73 is truly the epitome of what a modern-day telecommunication/multimedia device should be.

While it may inevitably be compared to the Sony Ericsson K800i due to a similar megapixel count, we feel the N73 has the edge because it is also a full-fledged smartphone that can be beefed up by installing third-party applications – something the K800i is incapable of. It's just a pity it lacks Wi-Fi connection.